The Nevada Supreme Court has postponed trials for 10 defendants in the 1998 beating death of a Carson City man and have put oral arguments on its October calendar in an attempt to resolve legal wranglings that have tied the case up for three years.
The case has been in limbo since Carson City District Attorney Noel Waters filed an appeal in February 2000 challenging former District Court Judge Michael Fondi's decision to lower the charges of the 10 defendants from first- to second-degree murder. The lower charge changes the penalty from life without parole to life with parole after 10 years.
Ten defendants are awaiting trial on charges they beat to death Sammy Resendiz, 25, at the Round House Inn on Aug. 23, 1998. The Supreme Court's order postpones trials scheduled to begin in September and October, but doesn't affect a trial set for January 2002.
Resendiz suffered several broken bones and head trauma and died at the hospital a few hours later.
Two other suspects were arrested in connection with the beating death. Alejandro Avila and David Moyle were given probationary sentences after pleading guilty to lesser charges.
Waters' appeal is still under consideration by the Supreme Court.
Fondi ruled that "bootstrapping" a first-degree murder charge by attempting to prove it happened in the commission of a burglary violates the defendants' rights. Waters contested the decision, and defendants and prosecutors have been waiting for a decision since then.
Arguments will be heard during the October term, said Deputy District Attorney Jason Woodbury. No dates have been set.
Waters asked the Supreme Court to postpone the trials after Justice Court Judge Michael Griffin decided in July to begin jury selection for the trials scheduled for September and October.
Defendants Clint Malone, Rocky Boice Jr., Frederick Fred, Lew Dutchy, Julian Contreras, Jessica Evans, Jaron Malone, Elvin Fred, Sylvia Fred and Michael Kizer all entered not guilty pleas to felony charges of open murder, battery with a deadly weapon and burglary and gross misdemeanor conspiracy to commit battery with a deadly weapon.